Does Europe Need an EU Product Safety Directive for Access Scaffolding?


School of Industrial Engineering, C/ Dr. Ortiz Ramos s/n, Campus de Teatinos, Universidad de Málaga, 29071 Málaga, Spain. [Email]


The main requirement established for the development of European Union product safety directives is to ensure a high level of safety for users. This research aims to analyze whether Europe needs a product safety directive for scaffolding and identify the main factors to be defined in public policies on the use of standardized scaffolding in the absence of such a directive. The principal types of scaffolding were reviewed, along with European regulations, and their risk levels. Finally, a qualitative study using a panel of experts was conducted to determine the differences between types of scaffolding and whether the enactment of such a directive would be justified. Key results were that the risk level associated with scaffolding positioned it third or fourth between material agents more hazardous in relation to falls from height. There is no existing product safety directive for scaffolding, despite the fact that there are directives for other products less dangerous than or as dangerous as scaffolding. However, there are noncompulsory standards EN 12810-1-2 and EN 12811-1-2-3-4 for scaffolding, which would form the basis of the essential requirements contained in a directive if it were created. The experts highlighted significant differences between "standardized" and "nonstandardized" scaffolding, with higher safety levels and productivity, and better maintenance, inspection, assembly, and dismantling associated with the former, and lower costs with the latter. Thus, they found that the enacting of an EU product safety directive for scaffolding would be justifiable, and in its absence supported the promotion of the use of standardized scaffolding.


CE marking,EU product safety directive,construction sector,occupational health and safety,scaffolding,

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